It was kinda spur-of-the-moment when Cindy suggested we go see Thor: Ragnarok. Considering Mom rarely wants to see these superhero movies, the boys and I jumped at the opportunity, and with popcorn in hand, we settled into our cozy theater loungers…

Movie Night

Thor: Ragnarok is the next installment (fifth film) in “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (this is the period of turmoil and discord that occurs for our hero’s in the aftermath of Ultron’s attack on the Earth), and sets the stage for the battle with Thanos next year in Avengers: Infinity War. The movie was, in a word, “AWESOME”! I’m was in heaven!

And so were the boys…

Movie Night

Even Cindy liked it! 🙂

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The days are getting shorter, but there are lights on the field! Tonight Adam is catching…

Adam Catches

There aren’t many balls that get past him, which says a lot given these fist-time little league pitchers. The balls are just as likely to go wild as they are to go across the plate.

Adam Catches Adam Catches

He’s a leader when he’s behind the plate…

Adam Catches

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It’s here…it’s finally here! The boys have been going on about Halloween for a couple of weeks now and counting down the days. Soon their coffers will be filled with CANDY!

This year, Adam was a S.W.A.T. officer, and Alex was the Red Power Ranger. Long gone are the days they would dress in similar costumes, as each year they become more and more diverse in their interests. But hey, they’re both crime fighters this year, right?

SWAT and Power Ranger

This year Charlie even got into the act, as a Rocker with his jean jacket and guitar…

Charlie Rocker

Meanwhile, in Alabama, grandkids Oliver and Carter John look AWESOME as Woody and Buzz…

Woody and Buzz

and Kameran was Barb from Stranger Things. I think she did a great job!

Kam and Barb

As expected, the boys cleaned-up on Candy…enough to last them into December. And Charlie absolutely loved the walk (and the attention).

Happy Halloween

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It’s the day before Halloween and Cindy has the pumpkin carving station open for the boys to make their jack-o’-lanterns. Adam is really seems to be into the carving and gutting of the soon to be jack-o’-lantern…

Adam Cleans
Adam Carves

While Alex is taking a less messy approach and covering the pumpkin in glow-in-the-dark paint for what appears to be some sort of Incredible Hulk fixtures…

Alex Paints
Alex Paints

UPDATE: The finished products…

Alex’s Incredible Hulk pumpkin…

Hulk

and Adam’s (left-side) and Cindy’s jack-o’-lanterns…

jacolantern

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The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens have an annual “Spooktacular” event on the weekend nights leading up to Halloween…

Spooktacular Nights

This was our first time going and it was a lot of fun. There was live music and the staff were dressed-up in costumes. There were countless picture-taking opportunities (to the boys chagrin 😛 )…

Spooktacular Nights
Spooktacular Nights

But what we really came for and what made the pictures worthwhile for the boys was…

Spooktacular Nights

We did get to see some of the animals, but most of them seemed to be in for the night. I guess the animals really weren’t the point of the event.

Spooktacular Nights

And although the boys weren’t too happy with the picture-taking at first, by the end of the night, they were into it and actually asking to take pictures here and there…

Spooktacular Nights

It was a spooky-fun night!

Spooktacular Nights

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Today Adam got a real treat! We were at the batting cages for some practice and he got some lessons from from Oakland A’s (minor league) third baseman A.J. Kubala. A.J. is a local boy and he gives back to his community by working with Little Leaguers on their fundamentals. Adam was grinning from ear-to-ear the whole time!

Thanks, A.J.! What a blast!

Batting with A.J. Kubala
Batting with A.J. Kubala
Batting with A.J. Kubala
Batting with A.J. Kubala

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This is the life…

Charlie Sun

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So, Alex’s school project was to make his favorite book character and in celebration of fall and halloween, he had to make it entirely out of pumpkins or other members of the gourd family. Naturally, Alex made Pete the Cat (with a lot of help from mom, who absolutely lives for stuff like this!!).

And you just gotta love Pete’s button flying off his shirt…

Pete the Pumpkin

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I’ve said it before, you can always tell what holiday is approaching by looking at our house. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or in this case, Halloween…

Halloween House

I joke with Cindy about about all of the work she puts into these decorations (both inside the house and out), but they’re really what makes our “house” a “home”. Someday, when the boys have grown and are on their own or raising families of their own, they’ll look back on these Halloween lights (and all the others) with some nostalgia.

Halloween Door Halloween Window

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Boy

Today I read the announcement from the BSA Board of Directors that they’re expanding the program to allow girls into the Boy Scouts. I’m saddened by this turn of events because I can no longer in good conscience support the scouting program. For me, the BSA is about teaching boys how to be good men. I believe in order to do this, the focus has to be on the boy. I believe adding girls to the program, no matter how well-intentioned, will inevitably result in a change to both the curriculum and the structure.

Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive, says,

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

This is a noble goal and I believe the values described in the Scout Oath and Scout Law” represent worthy attributes to develop in both boys and girls. However, executing on this content at the local level is where I see problems arising.

The Board of Directors say the rationale for the change is,

“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family.”

Again, this is noble, but the Board of Directors says Cub Scouts Dens will remain single-gender, which means for families with boys and girls, there will still be separate meetings. The boy’s den will have their own activities and the girl’s den will have theirs. They may be working on the same adventures, but maybe not at the same time and they will each have their own activities. And if they’re different ages, they will be working on different adventures entirely. How is this supposed to help make things easier for single-parent households or allow communities to participate in activities as a family (incidentally, the BSA already allows this with family campouts, etc.)? I think the only way to achieve this goal is to make the dens co-ed…and that’s exactly where I think this is going. When this happens the social dynamic changes at the basic level and this is where the BSA will lose its identity.

The Board also claims,

“Recent surveys of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts. Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.”

This is great! However, only 10% of boys in the U.S. are currently involved in Scouts. Instead of opening-up the program to girls, why not focus on the 90% of boys in America that could benefit from the BSA’s character and leadership development programs?

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